Our Arabian eating habits might seem normal to us, but when you’re on the outside looking in, our munching lifestyle can seem humorously odd. Here are 6 things every foreigner discovers when they try Arabic food for the first time:
- The main meal of the day is at lunchtime: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you say? Nah, Arabs like their big main course smack dab in the middle of their daily routines, usually between 2-5pm. That’s more like early dinner or late lunch for most foreigners, who usually prefer their main meals at dinnertime between 6-9pm.
- We eat a lot of rice and meat… Like, A LOT: Where’s the bread and pasta? How about some fish? When they look at an Arabian dining table, whether it’s Maqluba, Mulukhiya or Waraq Enab, outsiders find a lot of our main meals have two things in common: rice and meat.
- There is a HUGE variety of Arabic meals: Foreigners come to the Middle East expecting to try classical Arabic cuisine, like Falafel, Shawerma and Tabbouleh. What they are surprised to find out is that each country has its own unique dish specific to the region. Example: Jordan has Mansaf, Saudi Arabia has Kabsa and North African countries like Tunis and Morocco have Couscous.
- Hummus is NOT a dip, we have it for BREAKFAST: Hummus and Falafel might seem like a classic morning meal, but most foreigners actually put out a plate of hummus as a dip or snack.
- We put too much sugar in our tea: One small cup of tea can have three teaspoons of sugar, and that’s too sweet for most expats taste buds. Same goes for Arabic coffee, it’s too sweet. In fact, they even think our sweets are too sweet!
- We tend to use spoons instead of forks: Spoons are not just for soup. Foreigners are used to forks as the go-to cutlery for eating, but Arabs like to scoop up their food with nice round spoons.
Did you experience any of these when you tried Arabic cuisine for the first time? What other Arabian food etiquette did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!